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Nabokov stops 26 shots as Sharks blank Islanders

Oct 8, 2006 - 5:17 AM SAN JOSE, California (Ticker) -- Solid goaltending has led the San Jose Sharks to a fast start in the early days of the season.

Evgeni Nabokov made 26 saves for his 28th career shutout and defensemen Matt Carle and Christian Ehrhoff scored as the Sharks posted a 2-0 triumph over the New York Islanders in their only meeting of the season.

After Vesa Toskala won his eighth consecutive regular-season contest against the St. Louis Blues in Thursday's season opener, Nabokov stopped 14 shots in the first period, five in the second and seven in the third.

"Our defense did a good job and our penalty kill was pretty good," Nabokov said. "I think, overall, we didn't start very well. But as the game went along we were playing pretty good."

The 31-year-old Nabokov shut down the Islanders on five power-play attempts. The former Calder Trophy winner made his best save with 3:50 remaining in the game, snaring Jason Blake's wrister from the slot with his glove during a man advantage.

"It was good to see Nabby get off to a good start," Sharks coach Ron Wilson said. "It was a quiet game, too. He didn't have to make too many saves, but he made all the right ones, and he handled the puck great. He didn't overhandle it."

After recording a goal and an assist in the season opener, Carle - the 2006 Hobey Baker Award winner - converted Steve Bernier's pass from near the left faceoff circle, beating goaltender Rick DiPietro to the glove side for a power-play tally with 6:09 left in the first period.

"It's probably the only time it will happen this season," Carle said. "I had an open net staring right at me. It's just a good opportunity. Right place, right time, on both of the goals I've scored this year. I didn't make any spectacular plays. It's just tipping pucks into open nets."

While Andy Hilbert was serving a hooking penalty just over 3 1/2 minutes later, Ehrhoff took captain Patrick Marleau's centering pass and fired a one-timer past DiPietro for a 2-0 lead.

"Marleau got the puck in the corner, and I just kind of sneaked in from the blue line into the slot, and he made a perfect pass to me," Ehrhoff said. "I one-timed it and got it on goal and it went in. I saw him take a look at me, so I knew he saw me and I didn't call for the puck."

DiPietro made 25 saves for New York, which has lost the first two contests of a four-game Western road trip.

"I think we did a good job eliminating their chances 5-on-5," DiPietro said. "Couple of power plays killed us but we keep building up and moving forward. There's still a long way to go."

"We're trying to grab some chemistry," Islanders coach Ted Nolan said. "Chemistry is the word were looking for right now (to) see who plays who, and plays well with who. Tonight was much better than night before."

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